EVEN AS WE ARE ONE
4There is one body, and one Spirit, even as also ye were called in one hope of your calling; 5one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6one God and Father of all, who is over all, and through all, and in all.
Has there ever been an age that has been more prolific in the dissemination of Spiritual knowledge than the moment in which we now find ourselves. From the now twenty thousand denominational varieties of Christianity to the in-vogue traditions of Buddhism and now New Age, we seem to find ourselves as informed as we want to be concerning the mysterious matters of Spirit. For the true Spiritual Seeker, the landscape of belief systems that promise to “save” ones soul and give life on earth some semblance of meaning, has become a virtual theme park of personal preference. Interestingly enough, each belief system claims exclusivity in its doctrines of personal salvation leaving all non-believers in a variety of predicaments ranging from eternal damnation in the fires of Hell to the somewhat less warm but no less frightening idea of multiple incarnations into this world of ignorance and suffering. Most statisticians that understand the laws of probability would place the odds of finding the “right” way well into the realms of unlikelihood. So what do we do? Well what about testing the results against the claims?
It is widely accepted that no man or group has ever duplicated the results of Jesus Christ in demonstrating the power of a Life at One with God. No man has ever demonstrated the power over sickness, disease, death and natural phenomenon as did this lowly man from Galilee. So what has become of His followers of whom it is said that greater works than those of Jesus would follow their lives? Has the simplicity of His teaching been lost among the traditions of men that are heavy in the head and light on Presence? There can be no more ungratifying experience in this life than to spend countless years guiding men to understanding of the sacred scriptures only to look up and see that they have become no more like the Master than we ourselves. As a friend once said, Fifty-two life changing messages in one year…..and no ones life changes.
Winston Churchill’s now over-quoted definition of insanity bears repeating to those who have found themselves in the ditch of religious thinking…….to keep doing the same thing over and over… and expect different results……is insane. It seems that religion of every variety has woven within its frail fabric the broken threads of its own unraveling. The once powerful and incomparable testimony of the initial followers of Christ quickly faded off the scene within a few generations... an ominous prelude to millennia of religious carnality unlike anything the world had ever experienced. The evangelistic efforts of the Christian Church have, since the first few centuries of existence, consistently denied the Power of the very Spirit which they claim exclusive power to convey. In brash arrogance, missionaries would travel into the remote regions of the world and there confront their would-be converts with harsh condemnation of their heathen beliefs. Who among these adventurous and dedicated souls would have thought that the Spirit of God would have actually been at work before their arrival quickening in the hearts of men timeless truths that simply needed the light of fulfillment. What if men, lead by the Spirit, would have be able to SEE that, in every culture, God had been at work making straight the “path” of the Lord, and needed only a carrier of Presence to point to the Truth.
What is it that has so plagued the mission of Christendom that even among the ranks of the unswervingly faithful, a blank inner expression of pure bewilderment exists when confronted with the simple facts of powerlessness? Could is be that the jaded history of the Christian religion along with its present status of ever-increasing division and faction-ism point to a condition of blindness that effects virtually all its efforts, and except for occasional divine intervention, prerequisites all of its seeming fruitfulness to technology rather than Spirit power. What is this blindness, ignorance or dullness of hearing that has turned would-be carriers of the Presence of God into peddlers of words and concepts. Is it apparent to anyone that, except for those who sit in the pews and nod their agreement, the world is not listening to the overworked clichés and buzzwords that stir momentary fear, but lack the substance of life to point to Truth; Truth which cannot be expressed or conveyed fully in those words, but which is, and must be, KNOWN by the witness of the Spirit within.
Paul in Romans chapter seven seems to verbalize the sense of spiritual schizophrenia that is being transmitted from some of the present day churches. I do what I don’t want to do, and don’t do what I do want to do…so it is no longer “I” that is doing it …or not doing it….but some other thing in me. Now the question is, which me is doing the dirty deed? Paul’s answer is “sin in my members”, a law he later refers to as carnal mindedness. So the “me” that is responsible for all the inappropriate action or inaction is actually a form of thought that misses the mark…..what mark??....the mark of who we are!!.
What kind of thought form could so control the activity of a person’s life that it would actually assume the identity of the person? The answer lies at the core of a dis-ease of misidentification that paralyses faith and sets into motion the treadmill of religious effort responsible for present weakness, we reluctantly must admit. The universal problem that the present day Christian Church does not address is the fact that a man is not his mind. Better said, a man is not who and what his mind has told him he is based upon his history, education, successes, failures, stature or ancestry. It would seem that Paul’s universal observation pointed to a later revealed epiphany that in order to be a person in whom Presence is tangibly effective among other men, one must be renewed in the Spirit of their mind.
What Spirit flows from your mind? Is your mind renewed to who you really are to the degree that the old image of “self” no longer lives in your mind. Jesus said to deny your “self” and religious thinking would conclude that this means to deprive yourself of what you would like to do. Jesus was saying to deny the mind-created self image and identity that you now carry and let it die. But isn’t that where my individuality and personality is? Yes…but Paul had seen something greater awaiting those who would be willing to “lay down their lives” for His sake. Paul said it is no longer “I” that lives (the mind-created “me”), but Christ that liveth in me. In other words, if I can awaken to the fact that I am not my thoughts, but I am, in fact, the One who watches the thoughts of the mind…the expression of the infinitely individual I AM ….the Christ…..then that Christ, Presence, lives vitally in me.
The essence of the Truth is that you and your Father ARE ONE even as Jesus and the Father were One. The same way Jesus was the expression of the Godhead in bodily form…so are you and I. That means that the mental concept that God is over there and I am over here….a separate entity must give way to the truth that those that are joined to the Lord (and that’s everyone, because there is no life outside of God) are ONE SPIRIT. Said more succinctly, this idea that You and God are, in essence, two separate entities is called dualism or double-mindedness….two minds.
Religion, which is the product of the mind, continually supports the concepts of dualism, by having us engage in a variety of disciplines and practices, we are told, will transform us into what God wants us to be. All such denying the reality that no mental or physical observance of anything religious has the power to produce Life. The only thing that produces Life is Presence, and only when that Presence is allowed to arise in you and be the light it already is in your life, will you see It’s power to transform the world. Only when you can surrender to the realization that you and your Father are one and the same, will you see that following Jesus is following the same path.
Oddly enough, in Jesus final prayer on earth in John 17, a hint of our present predicament as well as the promise of its ultimate resolution are poignantly articulated in the phrase, “Father let them be One even as We are One”. Jesus said that He and His Father were one. Because the power of these words have never pierced the veil of our religious thinking, we seem to conclude that this means that Jesus and the Father being “two” “thought and acted alike” therefore were being metaphorically referred to by Jesus as being one. Could it be that Jesus was speaking directly to the fact that He and His Father were indeed One. That as the Christ, Jesus was of the same essence as His Father. Most of us would not have any trouble believing this, but this is not all that He said. His statement was, “Let them Be One even as We are One”. Whether you believe that this fact existed already and Jesus prayer was requesting that we be made aware of our Oneness with the Father, or if this Oneness would arrive after His resurrection, is not as important as realizing that ONENESS IS. In other words, you exist and have your being as and in the same ONENESS of Father and his faithful expression Jesus Christ. In order that this reality live powerfully in you, all creation has been established to bring you to the place where you see that your true Identity is the same true Identity of Jesus, that is, the Christ, the essence of God in the tangible world. Your only need is to recognize this reality as your own and be willing to lay aside a mis-identity created out of your history and sense perceptions.